For those who have experienced a menstrual period, you'll know that it may have been a bit daunting at first, and maybe even a little awkward... and for those who are just starting out, or are on the cusp of getting their period - you'll get through it just fine, with the right tools, education and support. Just look at how the rest of us has lived to tell the tales!
First periods can be daunting, yes - but mostly because they're new and we may not know what to expect. Remember the first time you rode a bike? Tried seafood for the first time? Went on a first date? Read out aloud in front of the class? It's a similar feeling - once you get there, you realise it's not as bad as you thought it was going to be and you might even feel a sense of empowerment for overcoming your initial hesitation or fear.
So... are we ready? Let's dive in.
WHEN WILL I/THEY GET MY/THEIR FIRST PERIOD?
No two people or periods are the same, so don't sweat it if you're/they're the last in the friendship group to get it. The average age for the onset of menstruation is around 10 or 11 years old, but anywhere between the ages of 8 and 16 is also considered normal. If younger (or older), it's probably best to check in with a trusted Doctor.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST SIGNS OF A FIRST PERIOD?
There are a few tell-tale clues that your (or their) first period is on the way soon. This process is referred to as puberty, and it's basically when your body goes from being a kid to an adult. Here are some things to look out for:
- Breasts start to develop. They might feel a little sore and lumpy to begin with.
- Hair growth in your pubic area (around your vulva), under your armpits and perhaps even on your legs and arms.
- Discharge or mucus-like fluid on your undies, which comes from your vagina. This can appear around 6 - 12 months before you get your first period.
- Skin breakouts, or acne.
A lot of people think that a first period will be a very sudden, heavy gush of blood, and that's usually not the case. Your first period will likely start with a bit of light spotting, and maybe some cramping in your tummy, just before the onset - think of it like a lil' head's up to get your period products prepped - your period is on the way!
Check out our post on period basics for period newbies for more into and tips on first periods and what to expect.
LET'S TALK PERIOD PRODUCTS
Pads, liners, tampons, period undies, cups... there are a heap of different types of products available on the market these days to help you manage your flow and there's no one-size-fits-all. Here are some of our (*ahem* Moxie) faves and why we love 'em for period peace-of-mind:
Pads stick onto the inner side of your underwear and absorb period flow. Little 'wings' with a sticky back, like the ones on our Moxie pads, wrap around the gusset of your undies and help to keep the pad in place whilst you go about your business.
LINERS - Think of these like a much smaller really thin pad. They're usually not as absorbent (as a pad) because of their thin-ness, but they're perfect for those super light-flow days just before or towards the end of your period. Like pads, they have a sticky back that sits on your undies, and they collect flow.
TAMPONS - About the size of your pinky finger, tampons are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Unlike pads, the absorption happens inside of the body rather than out, and so some may say that tampons are a little less messy.
Tampons have a little string that sits outside of the vagina, so that you can easily locate and remove the tampon once it's time to change. A great option if you're sporty - if inserted correctly, you shouldn't feel you're wearing a tampon. Tampons DO come with some associated risks, like Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), so it's important to choose the lowest possible absorbency for your flow and be sure to remove and change to a fresh tampon AT LEAST every 8 hours.
Read more about how to use tampons, HERE.
MENSTRUAL CUPS (a.k.a. period cups) - We LOVE cups! Not just because they're convenient, but because they're super sustainable, too. If properly cared for, a Moxie period cup will last you 5 - 10 years!
Made from medical-grade silicone, menstrual cups are a little cup-like device that are inserted into the vagina to collect period flow. They hold about 2.5 tampons' worth of flow and like tamps, can be worn for up to 8 hours at a time. But unlike tampons, which need to be (thoughtfully) disposed of after use, cups can be rinsed and re-inserted throughout your period as you need.
Learn more about menstrual cups, HERE.
WHAT'S IN A FIRST PERIOD KIT?
Period peace-of-mind is at the core of our purpose and so we carefully curated the perfect pack to help a period first-timer manage it like a BOSS! Meet our 'Welcome to Periods!' period starter kits. Here's a peak at what's included:
- Moxie period care - liners, pads, tampons and cups - choose from a combo that suits
- A Moxie mini hottie - the ideal companion to help cure those pesky cramps
- A block of chocolate (we like to call it 'self-care' 😏)
- A pair of cute 'n' comfy Moxie cotton undies - sometimes your period comes when you least expect it, so it never hurts to keep a clean, spare pair of undies handy, just in case.
- A pack of refreshing intimate wipes - for any accidental spills, or if you feel like you need a little freshen up in between showers
- Education and info - a 'Moxie & Me' pocket guide to periods and products.
You can of course build your own kit - whether it's just a few of your fave products stashed in a little pouch in the side pocket of your bag, or it's a box chock-full of all your favourite self-care goodies, anything goes!
WHAT ELSE MIGHT YOU/THEY NEED?
If you're a period newbie...
Don't be afraid to seek support, help or advice on anything you're unsure about. Around half of the population will experience a menstrual period at one point or another in their lives and so it's likely that a lot of people within your trusted network have been through it before. Chat to a parent, guardian, your bestie or visit your Doctor.
Have your 'Welcome to Periods!' kit at the ready for when you need it - give the info booklet a read and stash a few period products in your school/sports bag, just-in-case.
If you've got any questions about Moxie period products you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help.
If you're a friend, parent, carer or guardian...
Be a supportive ear/shoulder - first periods come with lots of physical, emotional and psychological changes and it can be a lot for a young person to deal with all at once. Ensure they're equipped and have access to adequate period care and education (like our 'Welcome to Periods!' Box) and that they understand (at least) the basics of what to expect from their period - and, reassure them that help and support is out there in various forms, should they need it.
For more info on first periods, check out these posts: